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article imagePutin Humiliates Russian Oligarch and Takes Him to Task

By Mark Kersten     Jun 9, 2009 in Politics
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska to task and humiliated him before cameras for the state of affairs in his aluminum factory.
In a video, available on BBC's website, the humiliation is clear. In front of cameras Putin asks "why is the plant is in such a poor state.You've turned it into a garbage dump." Later Putin asked that "Why was everyone running around like cockroaches before my arrival. Why was no one capable of taking decisions?"
The cause of Putin's public rebuke has been explained by increased tensions as workers were protesting against the shutting down of the plant and indications of a Russia worried about popular unrest fueled by the economic crisis. Russia's economy will likely experience its worst year in almost a decade in which it enjoyed uninterrupted growth. According to the Telegraph, residents of the northwestern town where the aluminum plant is located, blocked a main road inducing a 250-mile long traffic jam.
Deripaska, the 41-year old now worth an estimated $3.5 billion, has been hit hard by the economic crisis like many of Russia's business tycoon's, known as oligarchs. In October, Bloomberg Press reported that the oligarchs had lost an estimated $230 billion in the first five months of the financial crisis. They reported that Deripaska alone lost $16 billion.
How Deripaska will manage the strains and concerns surrounding his plant producing goods suffering from low demand globally remains to be seen. But Putin ordered Deripaska to pay all outstanding wages, amounting to over a million dollars. He then left him with this: "If you cannot agree among yourselves it will be done without you. Thank you. Good luck."
More about Vladimir putin, Economic crisis, Russia
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